A bowl of red wine ‘mee sua’ is nutritious yet delicious. With origins in Fujian China, the dish gained its popularity in Malaysian cities such as Setiawan, Sibu and Bintulu where there are big Foochow/Fuzhou communities. Singaporeans enjoy this wheat noodle dish as well.
Growing up, I enjoy having this dish each time my mother makes it simply because of its hearty flavours. It is perfect as a fulfilling meal especially when the weather is cold and rainy. I always thought that cooking the dish is complicated but little did I know, it's easy with a little twist to the original recipe. Rest assured, the taste is not compromised despite the simplicity. Moreover, red wine is known to have a high amount of antioxidants which is linked to improving health. Therefore, there is no reason not to try this red soup noodles, right?
What is mee sua and can it be substituted?
Mee sua is a type of wheat noodle made popular within the Chinese community in Singapore and Malaysia. Besides Southeast Asia, these noodles are known in Taiwan and Mainland China. It is also spelled as misua or miswa and has a very similar appearance to vermicelli noodles but tastes very different as mee sua is made using wheat while the later uses rice. Alkaline soda is added into the dough when making mee sua to prevent them from breaking during the shaping process.
These special noodles are often served during Chinese New Year, weddings, birthdays or a baby's full moon celebration. You can find them in larger supermarkets and wet markets in Malaysia and Singapore. They are also widely available in China and Taiwan.
Of course, you can substitute it with other types of noodles but the best choice would be plain wheat noodles made without eggs. If you like them homemade, try this easy recipe.
Prevent mee sua from soaking up all the broth
It's advisable to boil the mee sua in the broth shortly before serving. Otherwise, the dish will appear dry as the noodles will soak up the broth leaving very little behind. You may also boil them separately in another pot using plain water, drainand then pour the broth over them. Just remember to drain any excess water before adding the broth to the noodles. That way, the broth will not be diluted.
Why use Western red wine instead of red glutinous rice wine?
Red glutinous rice wine is a traditional ingredient which might be tough to source. In Singapore, you may be able to find it in supermarkets like NTUC, Fairprice or Sheng Shiong. As for Malaysia, one may find it easier to get it at local wet markets or in towns such as Setiawan or Sibu where the dish is more common.
Western red wine, on the other hand is widely available. It could be Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or just any type of red wine. While it may seem unthinkable, the sweetness of red wine is close to that of the red glutinous rice wine which is also sweet. This makes the flavours of the other ingredients more present.
If you are concern of the flavour being too strong, reduce the amount of wine to about 500ml or more. The best way is to slowly add in the wine to suit your taste.
Can water be used instead of vegetable stock?
Vegetable stock helps to give a delicious base flavour to the soup. You can substitute it with meat based broth too. Of course, plain water would work as well but you'll need to flavour it with more salt, sugar and pepper. A little bit more soy sauce might also do the trick.
Is this dish suitable for children?
Yes, certainly. Don't be concerned of the alcohol content from the red wine as alcohol evaporates at 78 degrees Celsius. Since the soup is boiled, there won't be any alcohol left in the dish.